Weirdly, I agree with them both. I think if I'd sat down to read Love Stories in one hit, I might have found it a little too sentimental. But I interspersed it with a couple of other books and I absolutely loved it.
During the pandemic, Trent Dalton set up a card table on a street corner in central Brisbane and asked passersby to tell him their stories about love, which he then beautifully wrote up into the chapters of this book and also sent copies to the story-tellers. Not all the stories are about romance; some are about the love for a city, a friendship, or a parent-child relationship. Not all the stories are about the story-tellers themselves: some are about their parents or friends. Not all the stories are happy; some are distressing and some are painful. But Dalton understands the transformative power of love and connection, and he manages to write about it in a way that doesn't become repetitive or cliched. Yes, it's warm and uplifting and hopeful, but as Dalton himself says, he was tired of being cynical and glib, and he's certainly right that after the stresses of lockdown, we are in the mood for being warmed and uplifted and injected with hope. At least I am! I'm very, very glad I read Love Stories.